February Starbox makeup subscription box from Starlooks

February 2015 Starbox Review

Even though I’ve been receiving this subscription pretty regularly for more than six months, this is only my second review of what comes inside.  (Oops.)  February’s box was very nice, though, so I thought I’d share.

This month’s box contained three items:

February Starbox makeup subscription box from Starlooks

Gem Eye Pencil in Myth
Tender Gloss in Cherub
Duet fan brush

2015 has, so far, been a year of lipstick for me — but I’d attribute that more to the things I’ve been doing than the year itself, since I like to wear lipstick when I feel like I need more confidence.

Nonetheless, I was excited to see a new shade of tender gloss in this month’s box!  The shade I’ve received before was a bit…. weird-looking on my skin, while this month’s is more similar to last month’s Gisele lipstick, which fits my skin tone well enough for everyday wear.

Individual reviews for each item below the jump!

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New post at Girls in Capes: What Korrasami Means for Friendships Becoming Relationships

I’ve got a new article up at Girls in Capes!

For this month’s Shipping Issue, I talked about the development of Korra and Asami’s friendship throughout The Legend of Korra and how the slow change over time from friendship to relationship is a step forward in storytelling.

Check out yesterday’s article over here.

Cover for the American English edition of Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

Read or Drop? Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 1-4

Typically, I’m not the biggest shounen series reader.  I didn’t really enjoy Bleach when I tried it, and neither Naruto nor Death Note have really ever been my speed.  I’ve enjoyed Inuyasha, sure, and just about everything else by Rumiko Takahashi — but usually shounen’s not my bag.

Cover for the American English edition of Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

SHOKUGEKI NO SOMA © 2012 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki /SHUEISHA Inc.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is a series that defies my normal categorization.  Though ostensibly centered on Soma, the titular character, this series — set in a hyper-competitive Japanese cooking academy — contains a rounded-out cast, interesting (though weird) subplots, and so much cooking knowledge and so many recipes that you can practically teach yourself to cook just by reading it.

I’ve read the first four volumes of the series — purchased all four of them, actually — and I’ve been so vocal about how much I like it that my local indie automatically orders the next volume for me after I’ve purchased the most recent one.

One of the things I truly enjoy about long-running manga with ensemble casts is that normally I enjoy the other characters much more than the protagonist.  Food Wars!  is no different: my favorite characters are Erina Nakiri, an arrogant high school first-year with a prodigious sense of taste, and Nikumi, another first-year with a special talent for selecting and working with meat.  Each of the characters are interesting on their own, and seeing the different ways each character deals with individual challenges is incredibly entertaining.

The art style of Food Wars! is, admittedly, a little bit weird.  Whenever Soma wins a shokugeki, or a cooking challenge, the shokugeki judge is usually depicted as… uh… naked.  And covered in food.  Which you can take as you will.

It’s definitely the sort of manga that’s a bit on the fluffy side, and some of the plots are a little hyperbolic — any time there’s a shokugeki involved, it gets really hyperbolic.  But it’s definitely a shounen-style manga, and shounen readers will probably really enjoy the storytelling style, the weirdly battle-like illustrations when anyone’s cooking something, and of course the vaguely pervy humor.

This one is 100% a read, not a drop.  I would recommend this manga to manga readers who also like to watch cooking shows.  (Master Chef and The Taste both come to mind.)  It’s definitely a manga I’d recommend buying at least a couple volumes of to really get a sense of the story, since the first volume’s plot arc stands almost completely alone, and it would be a great series to pick up soon: the anime will premiere in April.

Story: 3.5 out of 5

Art: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

New Look + Upcoming Work page

Hello friends!  If you’re reading this on my site and not on a reader of some type, you might be noticing that things look a bit different.  Maybe even pretty different.

It’s been a while since I’ve changed the look of my blog, but with my graduation approaching and so many exciting things on the horizon, I thought it would be a good time to freshen things up a bit.

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New Collab at Girls in Capes: Our Favorite Things: Canon Couples

I forgot to mention this last week, but I’ve got a new collaborative post up at Girls in Capes!

Once in a while, the staff members collaborate on fun lists, usually about things we like (or don’t like.)  This month, we did a collaboration for Our Favorite Things to discuss our favorite canon couples in time for Valentine’s Day.

I wrote about Korrasami.  And I’ll be writing about Korrasami again at the end of the month.

Check out our collaboration here!

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Be Mine (Valentine’s Day with the Casanos)

Today, if you haven’t noticed yet, is Valentine’s Day.

The people around me and the websites I follow are all handling it differently.  Paper Droids, for example, talks about lupercalia.  My friends with dates are off on their dates.  My single friends are politely ignoring that today is happening.

But I’ve always had a pretty specific association with Valentine’s Day.  And despite having dated off and on almost straight through for nine years (currently off), that association isn’t with romance.

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Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Cover of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerFrom the publisher:

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.

Parable of the Sower is set in what’s essentially the apocalypse, following a young woman named Lauren in Southern California during an economic and social crisis.  The book explores religion and philosophy, faith in the face of a crumbling society, and the formation of a family in times of crisis.

As something of a disclaimer, I’ve read one other novel by Octavia Butler — a standalone titled Kindred — and gave the book 5 stars.  Much of that was due to the writing style, and Parable of the Sower is written in similarly accessible language: the narrator speaks normally, and Butler’s prose isn’t flowerly, overly technical, or — as I described to a friend — “so complicated that she sounds like an asshole.”

While I didn’t enjoy Parable of the Sower as much as I enjoyed Kindred, I did enjoy it, and the book made me think.  Though set in what was at the time a relatively distant future of 2024, it’s close enough to present-day to make me think of what might be coming.  The novel is about environment, human nature, and the essence of family, and addresses racial and gender realities.

I was reading this book to evaluate whether or not to include it as a Girls in Capes book club selection, and it definitely made the cut.  We’ll be reading this for our April selection to coincide with The Growing Issue at GiC.

4 out of 5 stars